Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT)

Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT) is an annual tax on vehicles operating on U.S. highways at a registered gross weight equal to or exceeding 55,000 pounds. You have to file a tax return (IRS Form 2290, Schedule 1) and payment for the month your vehicle is first used during the HVUT reporting period, which runs from July 1 to June 30 of the next year.

This year, if your vehicle will be in service in July 2016, the deadline to file and pay HVUT is Wednesday, August 31 (the last business day of August).

Here are three things you should know about your HVUT return:

1. You have to file even if you don’t owe tax

If your vehicle qualifies for HVUT, you need to file a return even if you don’t owe tax during a reporting period. There are special conditions for logging and farm vehicles, as well as for vehicles that are sold or scrapped during the reporting period or that enter service in a month other than July. In any case, you still have to file an HVUT return with the IRS.

2. You need valid proof of payment to enter the U.S.

Once your HVUT return is filed and accepted, a copy of your Schedule 1 will be stamped “received,”dated, and returned to you for use as valid proof of payment.

U.S. Customs requires proof of payment for vehicles entering the country from Canada or Mexico, so it’s important to keep a stamped Schedule 1 handy. If you don’t have a copy, photocopies of the Schedule 1 and both sides of your canceled check will suffice. A confirmation email from the IRS is not acceptable as proof of payment.

3. The vehicle owner is liable for the tax

The name on the Form 2290 should match the registration, unless there are two names on the cab card.  If there are two names, then the OWNER is responsible for the filing and payment of the Form 2290 Taxes.

You can learn more about HVUT at the U.S. Dept. of Transportation’s web site, which explains how the tax is calculated. Read the instructions carefully so you fully understand your tax and reporting obligations. And if you need help, let us know.

Call us Toll Free: 1-877-860-8025
Email: sjohnson@fleettaxpro.com

About the Author:
Sandy Johnson is the founder and managing partner at North Star Fleet Solutions in Calgary. The company provides vehicle tax and license compliance services for trucking operations ranging from single vehicles to large fleets. She can be reached at 877-860-8025 or northstarfleet.com.